Beyond MoCo: Face Coverings No Longer Required in Frederick County Public Schools (Effective 2/25/22)

Last night, the Frederick County Board of Education of voted to encourage face coverings but no longer require them inside all school buildings effective Friday, Feb. 25. Face coverings remain mandatory on school buses due to a federal mandate.

In a letter to the community, this was referred to as a “significant change fand a major step towards normalcy.”

Many questions are answered below, per the letter:

Why Now?

This year, face coverings have been required inside school buildings due to a mandate from the Maryland State Board of Education (MSBE). At its Feb. 22 meeting, MSBE allowed local school boards to adopt their own face covering policies.

School districts can make face coverings optional if at least 80 percent of the county’s population ages 5 and older are fully vaccinated per the Maryland Department of Health. In Frederick County, we have reached that threshold with 80.4% of eligible county residents ages five and above fully vaccinated.

With local COVID-19 case counts in rapid decline for more than a month, the Board voted to make face coverings encouraged but no longer required.

Does this mean face coverings will go away?

No. Health experts encourage face coverings as a mitigation strategy against COVID-19. FCPS is still welcoming mask use to minimize COVID-19 spread throughout the community. But this will be an individual family decision, with a few exceptions:

  • Due to a federal mandate, face coverings will still be required on school buses for all drivers and riders.
  • Individuals returning from isolation will also be required to wear face coverings from the sixth through the 10th day after their symptoms first appeared. Mask requirements when returning from isolation will be posted on FCPS.org later this week.
  • In school health rooms or any clinical health setting where the CDC and other health guidance require all individuals to be masked.

What mitigation measures will still be in place?

Weekly COVID-19 screening messages will continued to be shared weekly via One Call Now and Schoology.

Isolation and exclusion of individuals with primary COVID-19 symptoms and those who test positive for COVID-19.

Implementation of applicable ASHRAE ventilation recommendations.

Use of air purifiers in all classrooms and school health rooms.

Continued emphasis on hand washing and sanitizing.

Continued use of cleaning products and protocols that are best practice for reducing transmission of communicable diseases including COVID-19.

Will contact tracing continue?

Case investigation and contact tracing will no longer be feasible by school staff following the lifting of the mask mandate.

Even so, contact tracing outside of schools will continue to be conducted by public health entities.

Individuals will still be expected to follow CDC guidance for quarantine if they have a known exposure to an individual infected with COVID-19.

Can I still track COVID-19 data in FCPS?

Absolutely. We will continue to update our Health Metrics Dashboard on a daily basis with updates on COVID-19 cases in each school community, schoolwide attendance rates and more.

We will also regularly share updates to our FCPS COVID-19 Health Response. We remain committed to sharing timely information.

While some families will be happy face coverings are no longer mandatory, other families will still want students to wear face coverings. All students and staff must respect the decisions of others as we transition to individual choices for face coverings. School staff will be vigilant in ensuring that students feel safe and comfortable regardless of their face covering choice. We will do our best to accommodate everyone’s decisions as we continue emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Thank you,
Mike Markoe
Interim Superintendent

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17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

www.dayofthebook.com

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

Get ready to experience the vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival! Hosted by RHU LLC, this exciting festival is set to take place on May 18, 2024, at the picturesque 16700 Barnesville Rd in Boyds, MD.

Step into a world where the Caribbean spirit comes alive! From 12:00 PM onwards, immerse yourself in a sensory journey that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and music of the Caribbean. Whether you're an African American, a Reggae or Soca music enthusiast, a wine lover, or part of the vibrant Caribbean diaspora, this festival promises to delight and captivate you in every way.

Let the enticing aromas of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes tantalize your taste buds. Feast on traditional delicacies prepared by expert chefs, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Caribbean. Indulge in flavorful jerk chicken, succulent seafood, and delectable plantain dishes that will transport you straight to the islands.

Accompanying the culinary extravaganza is a carefully curated selection of premium wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for your palate. Sip on fine wines from renowned vineyards, each sip a reflection of the Caribbean's vibrant spirit. Discover new flavors, expand your wine knowledge, and savor unforgettable moments with every glass.

As the sun sets, get ready to groove to the infectious rhythms of Caribbean music. Feel the pulsating beats of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso, moving your body to the lively melodies. Live performances by talented musicians and performers will keep the energy high, ensuring a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Don't miss this opportunity to embrace the Caribbean spirit and celebrate the arrival of spring in style! Tickets are available on AllEvents, so secure your spot today. Join us at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival, where cultures collide and unforgettable memories are made.

LIVE PERFORMANCES By: CULTURE Feat. Kenyatta Hill, EXCO LEVI, IMAGE BAND, RAS LIDJ REGG'GO with Special Guest SUGAR BEAR FROM E.U. & MORE! & MORE!

MUSIC By: DJ ABLAZE, DJ SMALLY & NAJ SUPREME

2 NIGHT Camping packages available: RV/CAMPER $200 | TENTS $150 Starting on Friday May 17 @ 5pm | 30 RV SPACES | 30+ TENT SPACES

KIDS 12 & UNDER FREE!!!

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